A standing-room only crowd of more than 200 turned out to the Western Hotel Wednesday night for a forum on environmental policy, featuring incumbent Republican Congressman John Faso, and Democratic …
A standing-room only crowd of more than 200 turned out to the Western Hotel Wednesday night for a forum on environmental policy, featuring incumbent Republican Congressman John Faso, and Democratic challenger Antonio Degaldo. The forum was sponsored by the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, the Friends of the Upper Delaware River, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and the Delaware Highlands Conservancy.
Faso got a healthy round of applause when he appeard on stage, but this crowd clearly preferred Delgado, and his appearance brought a stonger, more sustained round of applause.
Each candidate appeared separately and answered questions from panelists from the participating organizations, and also a few questions from the audience.
Faso pointed out some of the environmentally related initiatives he pursued such as helping to obtain blocked funding for the Upper Delaware Council, and helping to get $5 million in funding for fiscal year 2018 pledged to the Delaware River Conservation Act.
Delgado painted the idea of protecting the environment and moving more quickly into alternative energies as a vision of the future regarding the possibilities of the district. One where green jobs would provide today's children with the foundation for staying in this region, which he praised as being diverse and environmentally unique.
Though most of the questions and answers were not controversial, differences in the candidates emerged when discussing the Farm Bill and specifically the portion of it that would heavliy impact the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program [SNAP].
Regarding the Farm Bill Faso said, "Most of the issues have to do with SNAP and enhanced work rules for SNAP," which Faso has supported and which critics say will force many current SNAP recipients to give up their benefits. He continued, "But leaving that aside, I do think we're going to compromise on that, and some of these other issues are going to get compromised out." He expected the Farm Bill to pass.
When Delgado addressed the Farm Bill he called the SNAP part of it "cruel". He said, "With all of the hunger and the pain that people are feeling out there right now, the food deserts that people have to endure, why are we going about figuring out how to make it more difficult to eat for those people? I don't get it." Which sparked one of many rounds of applause.
More on the forum will appear next week in the print version of The River Reporter.
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